Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Help comes in many forms

     Sometimes it's a loan or a helping hand. It may just be a smile when you need it most. If the latter, what is the cost to the one that provides it? At some point in time, if we live long enough, we will be betrayed, let down, or outright stomped by another. And for what purpose? Money? A short ego boost for one's flailing psyche? How we react defines our character.
     On the other hand, not many will deny the warmth and comfort received from a beloved pet cuddled by your feet or on you lap. I'm not suggesting we forgo human contact. Actually,  not only do people who own dogs have  less obesity (taking their dogs for regular walks), but our exercise buddy can encourage social interaction. Regardless of the type, a dog is a conversation waiting to happen. A conversation not having to relate to work, marriage, or any stressful event.
     I don't need to point out the myriad studies performed on the effects of associating with pets. These natural mood enhancers will reduce our anxiety and stress with just their presence. Surely you don't want to hear about their effects on our cortisol and serotonin levels. It's enough to enjoy the results.
      Blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, depression, are all affected for the better, just because of their presence. Researches may not know why, but cat owners have fewer strokes. Even children that grow up in a household with a dog or cat are less likely to develop allergies. For people with diabetes, about one in three dogs living with people have the ability to detect when the person's blood sugar drops. Dogs for Diabetics is training more dogs to help more people. There are many service training organizations for people with problems from rheumatoid arthritis, strokes, fibromyalgia, seizures, you name it. Some are trained to help the disabled maintain our independence. There are so many ways in which pets can improve our quality of life.
       Have you ever been alone and in need of a friend? How many times has your dog moved to your side or sat in your lap or by your feet when you're either sick or just down in the dumps? How many ways do they lift your spirits? How many times have their true character come out?
      There have been occasions when I haven't even realized I was so stressed until my furbaby nudged my leg and whined. What a wake-up call.
      In the long run, they enrich our lives on so many levels and in so many ways.
     Another fact. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, in 2012, it’s estimated that at least 62% of American households own at least one pet. According to the American Pet Products Association, we’ve spent more than $50 billion on our animal companions.
     Give your dog, cat, ferret or whatever you call cuddles, a hug and a treat. They deserve it simply by existing. 

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